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January has come around rather quickly, the month in which I am always full of good intentions regarding my diet and lifestyle – an annual necessity after a hectic Christmas. However, my body isn’t as fit as my mind, it’s telling me it needs a break, that it is craving warm, healing, nourishing food. And while I’m in listening mode, “What else are you saying, dear body?” – Oh yes, you want ginger!
I am really fond of making Christmas cakes and look forward to making them each year. There is something immensely comforting about the aroma of warm spices in the kitchen while the cake is baking. I have lovely childhood memories of helping my mum decorate the Christmas cake.
We have the most delicious sweet crab in Co Waterford. I get my crab from Helvic, the pots go out traditionally on St Patricks day – which incidentally is a busy day on land and at sea as it is also the deadline for planting potatoes. We enjoy fresh crab from the end of March until the weather gets cold at the end of October.
This is a wonderful way to cook lamb, much better cooked the day before allowing the wonderful flavours to develop overnight. The wild garlic oil is a great early summer addition to any dish – except maybe pudding!!
Slow cooked Lamb Shanks in Rioja with pearl barley and wild garlic oil
A light, buttery fruit cake with a double dose of home-made almond paste for your Easter table. Out come the tins again for the Easter baking. When I was growing up, a Simnel cake always featured on our Easter table. My grandmother was so addicted to almonds that she would split the Simnel cake in half and add an extra layer of almond paste. Perhaps there should be an Almond Addicts Anonymous?
Rhubarb and spring arrive together. I love rhubarb. It’s the first to wave the 'I have survived the winter' flag in my otherwise desolate garden. Last autumn I put my rhubarb to bed under a duvet of well rotted manure, my efforts were rewarded as my rhubarb peeked above ground a month early from its winter slumber pink and ready to be plucked.
Picnic time has arrived – Yipee! Be it a picnic on the beach, from the boot of the car at the local show or the big basket stuffed with goodies that’s brought out to the fields to boost the morale of weary silage men.
There is lot of talk about the economy showing green shoots, for me the pink shoots of Rhubarb pushing through the ground in early Spring are uplifting, a new season bringing with it new growth.
Life on the farm is pretty hectic at the moment with new calves arriving, training first time cows to the milking machine along with the other joys of spring. I don’t get overly involved in the farm, but I do look after my farmer husband and with the help of good food keep his spirits up during these somewhat trying days.
Has January come around faster than usual? Although I am not complaining as my Seville orange marmalade is bubbling on the stove, the house is filled with its wonderful perfume, a wonderful contrast to the spicy smells of December’s kitchen.